THEME: Arctic Adventures
It’s winter in the windy city, the temperatures have dropped and there are a lot of new things to discover outside - cool air, crunchy ice under our feet and best of all...SNOW! January’s curricular theme, Arctic Adventures, provides Sonnets Academy students and teachers with a whole new set of elements to roll into our daily curriculum. Through Arctic Adventures we will have some wonderful activities based on what we see outside. How is snow formed, how do you build a snowman or an igloo? Perhaps, who lives in this cold weather? From Polar Bears to the squirrels that live right out our windows - we will explore them all. Who knows, we might even find a popsicle or ice cream in one of our daily activities.
Each Sonnets Academy Preschool follows the same monthly theme from which our teachers create their own lesson plans - giving our teachers the ability to build their classroom activities while following age-specific learning and development objectives in the following categories:
-Fine & Gross Motor Skills
-Music & Movement
-Social & Emotional Development
As we unbundle our little learners each day, we will expose them to stories and songs about the new layers of clothes they are wearing and the weather outdoors. We will sing as a group about mittens, hats, snow and snowflakes. Music is a wonderful aid to refine motor skills for infants. An upbeat melody of a new song can encourage younger infants to hold up their heads higher or longer, inspire rolling over or happily invigorate them to clap and smile. While babies can’t eat ice cream yet, we can pretend to build ice cream cones with cotton balls as the ice cream, and different colored rice as sprinkles. Teachers will set up sensory stations with these objects - a wonderful way to explore new textures and look at bright colors.
Oh what fun to be a snowman! Toddlers thrive for dramatic play, using their imagination to express how a round snowman would walk and talk with other snowman. Our Toddlers will use arts and crafts to create their very own snowman face with paper and paint. They will mimic a winter scene with their friends, this type of role play is instrumental for building healthy relationships with friends as they collaborate and connect. Our teachers have plenty of glitter on hand to create snow globes - we can’t wait to watch these little imaginations soar as the children imagine their very own snowy day and turn this into a tangible takeaway to share with their families and caregivers. This is a great way to bring the conversation home connecting our school - home learning.
Some of our favorite storybook characters come alive in new adventures. We can’t wait to read new tales to our twos about their favorites, like ‘Olivia Builds a Snow Lady’. These new stories are wonderful inspiration for Arctic Adventures and to discuss the new outdoors. Not to worry, if it’s too cold to go outside and enjoy the ice and snow, we’ll do the next best thing, bring it into school! We will use ice to build on our math and science skills as we count ice cubes to build igloos and explore the effects of water, ice and salt on our new creations. Teachers will use shaving cream as a mold to create animals, the children will create their own stories of Arctic Adventure. All this creation is a wonderful way to build on our fine motor skills, and learn how to clean up any excess mess. Twos are eager to become independent, but are modeling the guidance of adults, this is a perfect time to introduce new self-help skills.
These inquisitive learners are taking it all in, and processing any subtle changes in the world around them to foster many questions. Why is it so cold, what animals live in the cold and why do I have to wear more clothes? These questions are the building blocks to logical thinking and self discovery. We will build on their enthusiasm by reading about the Arctic animals outside. Teachers will explore stories like ‘Brown Bear’. The book is designed to help associate colors and meanings to objects. Bears are always a favorite when discussing the cold weather. The children will practice letter recognition of “B” for Bear and practice writing lower and upper case B’s. We explore shapes and colors as we build our brown bear faces and hone our counting skills as we count the words in “Brown Bear”. Art activities quickly lead into lessons on counting objects, colors and sequencing.
Prekindergarten children approach each day with curiosity looking to expand their understanding of the world around them. Now is a rewarding time to build upon critical thinking, we will read about animals in story time, identifying sight words that will be used to build the beginning of sentence structure. We will ask leading questions such as, “how does a bear walk, what type of feet do they have, how big are they? These questions will be answered in journal entries, using our sight words. We will illustrate these stories through art. A fun way to make our stories come alive. We will use our classroom animals to make footprints by dipping their hands and feet in paint. We will use watercolors to create colorful wintery backgrounds and relive our journal stories through imagery on a page. Now is an exciting time to watch these great minds build their skills into their very own masterpieces.
Spanish & Music Spotlight
Infants & Toddlers
Our youngest age groups will be exposed to new vocabulary for the Winter season during sensory activities like "What should I wear?" where we will learn the terms for winter outerwear while learning their different textures, colors, shapes, and sizes.
Twos learn new vocabulary all the time through experience when they are asking questions about their surroundings. We are learning winter Spanish vocabulary this month in art projects which will incorporate the elements outside creating an outside winter landscape on a blank page with trees and snow.
Preschool & Prekindergarten
This month's "What should I wear?" activity and creative art projects will allow our older students to learn new Spanish vocabulary while expanding their imaginations and working together. This type of emergent learning helps students to grasp new words in a setting where they are naturally building on what they find interesting or fun!
Infants & Toddlers
Infants & Toddlers will be engaged in quite the sensory experience this month when we dance to music with colored tissues to create a snow storm! This will help us with gross motor music coordination as we move our bodies to the music.
During music circle time, Twos will engage in a game where they toss a cube with images which represent song titles on each side followed by singing and doing motions to the song that the cube lands on. This will encourage motor coordination to the music that we are singing.
Preschool & Prekindergarten
Preschool & Prekindergarten students will be playing games with songs which promote action, such as a flash card game during circle time where students draw a card from a stack of songs and do corresponding motions while the song plays - promoting confidence in coordinating movements and lyrics together and having fun as a group.